Three’s Company- co-ed living, sexuality, and independence

“Come and knock on our door…

We’ve been waiting for you…

Where the kisses are hers and hers and his,

Three’s company too.”

(Three’s Company Lyrics – Theme Song Lyrics, n.d.)

http://www.tvland.com/video-clips/threes-company/three-s-company-theme-song 

Three’s Company, a comedy that was based on the British sitcom Man About the House, aired in March of 1977. (Three’s Company, n.d.)  This show starred Jack Tripper played by actor John Ritter, Janet Wood played by actress Joyce DeWitt, and Chrissy Snow played by actress Suzanne Somers. Something not seen in the past was woman and men living together. These three shared apartment 201 in Malibu, California. (Three’s Company- Wikipedia, n.d.) Jack was a chef and found himself unable to afford an apartment by himself. He ran into Janet (a florist) and Chrissy (a secretary) looking for a new roommate. In society, it was seen as a bad thing to have co-ed living situations if you were not related or married.

 

The landlord of the apartment complex, Stanley Roper, was like many people. He didn’t believe in co-ed living. With his strict policy, Jack told him he was gay. “When it first aired, the notion of a man sharing an apartment with two women who weren’t relatives was novel; having the man also pretend to be openly gay made it racy and groundbreaking. This was titillating stuff for 1977.” (Three’s Company, n.d.) Having such a controversial living situation and the openness of sexuality was a change in television. This was a path for change and moving towards a more liberal society. (Three’s Company, n.d.) Along with showcasing independent, workingwomen, this show brings to light more liberal issues involving Jack.

My perspective: Growing up in a liberal household with options and freedom, as a woman has been a blessing. I reflect back on the past and the struggles women had to go through to get where they are today. Every show during the 1970s that reflected change and took risks helped the efforts of the Liberation Movement. Women wanted to be independent, work, and have a voice. Three’s Company not only showcased those independent women, but it brought up topics of gays and living co-ed without a marriage certificate. I think those are powerful topics to showcase to America. Liberation means change and it means opportunities to be who you want to be. I think this show helped bring those issues to the forefront.

About the main characters: John Ritter was an actor, comedian, and a voice-over artist. He was born in 1948 and was best known for his role as Jack Tripper in Three’s Company, which he won an Emmy and Golden Globe for. He died suddenly in 2003 while starring in the ABC hit 8 Simples Rules. (John Ritter- Wikipedia, n.d.) 

 

 

 

 

 

Joyce Anne Dewitt was born in 1949 in Wheeling, West Virginia. As an actress, she was best known for her role as Janet Wood in Three’s Company. (Joyce DeWitt –Wikipedia, n.d.)

 

 

 

 

 

Suzanne Somers was born on October 16, 1946. She is an actress, author, singer, and businesswoman. She has written self-help books and is known for her roles as Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company and as Carol Lambert on Step-by-Step. (Suzanne Somers- Wikipedia, n.d.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Ritter. (n.d.). Wikipedia- The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 30, 2012, from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ritter

Joyce DeWitt. (n.d.). Wikipedia- The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 30, 2012, from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joyce_DeWitt

Suzanne Somers (n.d.). Wikipedia- The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 30, 2012, from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzanne_Somers

Three’s Company. (n.d.). TVland. Retrieved October 30, 2012, from http://www.tvland.com/shows/threes-company

Three’s Company -Wikipedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 1, 2012, from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three’s_Company

Three’s Company Lyrics – Theme Song Lyrics. (n.d.). Lyrics On Demand. Retrieved November 3, 2012, from http://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/threescompanylyrics.html

Maude – the most controversial, opinionated woman of the 1970s

In September 1972 , Maude premiered on television in many American homes. This show would destroy stereotypes and break down the barriers of women in 1970s.

Actress Bea Arthur starred as Maude Findlay, a woman not afraid to voice her own opinion. She was a middle-aged, married to her fourth husband, liberal woman living in Tuckahoe, New York. (Wikipedia)

This show was a spin-off from All in the Family. Maude was Edith’s cousin (character on All in the Family). (Bergman, n.d) Maude was a mother, a wife, and a strong, independent woman. In the past women were reserved, obeyed their husbands, and were insignificant compared to a man’s role.

Maude had many supporting actors — Maude’s fourth husband, Walter, her daughter from a previous marriage, Carol, her housekeeper, Florida, and many others. (Maude – TV.com, n.d.)

Maude represented a change in television sitcoms during the early 1970s. Many 1960s sitcoms reflected the context and values of white middle America, where gender and family roles were fixed and problems encountered in the program rarely reached beyond the confines of nuclear family relationships.” (Fry, n.d.)

Maude was a very controversial show and her strong personality was the reason it would forever be remembered. One huge topic that had never been featured on television before was the issue of abortion. “Maude wasted no time becoming one of the most controversial shows ever when she, at age 47, became pregnant and decided to get an abortion (the first show to ever have the lead character get an abortion).” (Maude – TV.com, n.d.)

Other controversial topics highlighted in Maude:

  • Divorce
  • Women in government
  • Birth Control and men
  • Bankruptcy
  • Plastic surgery 

My perspective: Maude showcased a woman who didn’t answer to anyone. She did what she wanted to do and believed in what she wanted to believe in. No man was going to shape her.

I admire the character Maude stood for. She was voice for women during a time when women were fighting for a voice. She had the power to share her opinions, and I think it helped society see a more liberal side to women.  Another note to take away from this television show is the risk of controversial topics. Maude discussed many of the topics not accepted in society at this time. This was a risk that I feel paid off. Presenting real problems and issues could have steered viewers away from this show; however, it opened their eyes to reality.

About Bea Arthur: Actress Bea Arthur was born in May 1922. She was an American actress, comedian and singer who had a great career. She is known for her role in Maude, All in the Family, and The Golden Girls. (Wikipedia)

Check these clips from Maude:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arOa5geOED0&feature=endscreen&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9NY8R-LmIw

Bea Arthur –Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, (n.d.) Wikipedia. Retrieved October 30, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bea_Arthur

Bergman, M. (n.d.). Maude (TV Series 1972–1978) – IMDb. IMDb – Movies, TV and Celebrities. Retrieved October 30, 2012, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068103/

Fry, K. (n.d.). The Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved October 30, 2012, from http://www.museum.tv/eotvsection.php?entrycode=maude

Maude (TV series) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved October 30, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maude_(TV_series)

Maude – TV.com. (n.d.). TV.com – Free Full Episodes & Clips, Show Info and TV Listings Guide. Retrieved October 30, 2012, from http://www.tv.com/shows/maude/